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Wednesday, 21 March 2007 00:00

Recommended diversions

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“300”

OK, to be perfectly honest, this is a “qualified recommendation.” “300” is currently in the theatres, but the original work — a graphic novel by Frank Miller (“Sin City”) and Lynn Varley, contains some of the most “vibrant” art work being done in the USA.

The over-sized graphic novel (10” by 13”) is an impressive achievement in its own right. The artwork consists of great slashes of crimson and black that seem to pulse on the page. Images alternate from epic battlefield massacres to ornate depictions of clothing, jewelry and some of the most intimidating beefcake and flexed muscles since the old Steve Reeves movies. All of this is fascinating to look at. so why have I qualified my recommendation? Well, the story — the famous battle of Thermopale manages to be pretty silly. Kings Leonidas and Xerxes, bluster, pose and brag (Leonidas wants to die with epic granduer; Xerxes wants to rule the world.) The movie duplicates all of this with admirable faith. The dialogue and the posturing is ridiculous, but the art work is fantastic.

Sourcewatch

After accidentally blundering onto this Web site, I have become an addict. Basically, Sourcewatch merges some of the best media commentary on the excesses of irritating political pundits like Anne Coulter (who recently implied that John Edwards “was a faggot” on C-Span) and Paul Drudge (who incorrectly reported that John Kerry burst into tears when he announced his decision not to run for president). Gossip is widespread (“How Soon will Scooter Libby Have a Pardon?”) Essentially, Sourcewatch has decided to hold the media responsible for their worst excesses. As the word has spread about Coulter’s “insensitive reporting,” her column has been dropped by seven newspapers. One Sourcewatch affiliate, The Sunshine Foundation, has launched a monitoring service that maintains a detailed account of the daily activities of all senators and representatives. As a result, they have uncovered evidence that indicates many are guilty of “unnecessary travel,” unethical pressure (bribery and blackmail) and long periods of inactivity (they aren’t doing anything).

The Chiller Channel (257)

They finally did it! DirecTV has launched “The Chiller Channel.” Of course, it looks a lot like the Science Fiction Channel, but horror addicts are being advised to be patient. Naturally, the commercials are there, and rumor has it that initially nudity and offensive language will be edited. That could change in the future. I was pleased to note that unedited broadcasts of horror classics are planned: “Psycho,” “The Shining” and “Night of the Living Dead.” There will be some sci-fi classics, too, like “Blade Runner.” Right now, I am content to see old favorites like “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “Night Gallery.” I just read a wonderful blog that was sent to Chiller by a fellow who wanted to know if it was possible to add violence and nudity to some of the boring horror flicks.

— By Gary Carden

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